Not too many years ago, Nicaragua was third in line—after the Dominican Republic and Honduras—in terms of cigar consumption in the United States. Recently, however, it leapfrogged over Honduras to become the second-most-popular source of premium cigars. That popularity is partly due to the rich soil—very similar to Cuba’s in terms of texture and chemical makeup—that lends Nicaraguan cigars a subtly earthy flavor. More farms are being cultivated out of the thick Nicaraguan jungle to meet the growing demand.
Nicaragua is roughly the size of England and Wales combined, thus making it the largest republic in Central America. It’s also a land of volcanos, and it is this rich volcanic soil that helps give Nicaraguan tobacco its character. Much of the leaf comes from two fertile valleys, Jalapa and Estelí, where some of the world’s most exquisite filler, binder, and wrapper are grown. Recently the area of Condega, near Estelí and the Nicaraguan-Honduran border, has also been increasing tobacco cultivation, as has the inland island of Ometepe, with its twin volcanos, in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.
Here are five Nicaraguan cigars you should try.